When I think of my mom, I always smile. She was that kind of lady. She was fun. And that wasn’t just my opinion. Everyone who came to my house thought my mom was silly and funny. To this day, if I were to have a conversation with my brother, sisters, or niece and my mom came up, they would all say similar things like, “Remember when we used to play Trouble with mommy?” or “Remember when granny would get a Yatzee? She was so goofy.”
But what made her so fun? I think it was because she never lost her childlike enthusiasm for life. She loved to play with us kids and her grandkids. She was never too busy to clear the table for a game…or to whip out the ingredients for some homemade buttermilk biscuits, or pie crust…or to pound out a song on the piano while we sang along at the top of our lungs. And she was full of cute little quips like, “love you big, love you small, love you like a rubber ball.” Another was “love you little, love you big, love you like a little pig.” Those were actually the last words she ever said to me as I left her hospital room. They were a perfect memory for me to carry forever. My mom in her childlike innocence. It was so distinctly her. She was such a sweet little woman. I could live to be 100 and never be half the lady she was.
I was reminded of the importance of not losing that childlike enthusiasm tonight. We had a birthday party scheduled at Chuck E. Cheese for my new (step) granddaughter. Before we left for the party, my daughter confided to me that her husband had not gotten her anything for her birthday last week. Although she wasn’t being critical, I could see the hurt in her eyes. On top of being thrown into raising a spicy four year old full time, she has a newborn baby (three months old) and is feeling overworked, under appreciated, out of shape, and insignificant. None of those are good feelings. So, I decided the party at Chuck E. Cheese was going to be a joint party. After all, is anyone ever too old to like Chuck E. Cheese? (unfortunately, the answer to that rhetorical question is “yes.” My 12 year old grandson was not impressed with the big Chuck!:))
When we got to Chuck E. Cheese, I asked the manager to create a second cake and put 26 candles on it and to add an order of dippin’ dots. He said, “No problem. Done.” Good man. Since this particular daughter lives about 4 hours away, her siblings had already planned to give her last week’s birthday gifts at the party so it was perfect the way it fell into place. My 26 year old [baby] girl had a joint birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. There’s one for posterity.
All of the kids had unlimited wrist bands, which meant they could play any games they wanted for as long as they wanted. Let me tell you what I witnessed; since the games were free (prepaid), the parents played the games with their children, instead of observing, which is what usually happens. I watched them laugh their way through skeeball, basketball, whack a mole…it was truly a wonderfully fun family evening.
By the end, we were all dancing with Chuck E. on video. We were scheduled for a two hour party. The last of us left four hours later. As I observed the unity and fun that was taking place, I found myself vowing to make this happen more often.
I’m not saying we aren’t a fun family. At beach week this year, we had a dance off with ‘Just Dance 2015’ and everyone participated. Trust me, that was fun. But, those family activities are planned in advance each year. Generally, when we have birthday parties, the kids play and the adults sit and talk. Boring. Good old Chuck reminded us of how it’s done tonight.
I’m going to try harder every day to remember to embrace my childlike enthusiasm for life. I want to be that mother/grandmother who is remembered as a fun lady. Just as I had a perfect example set for me, I want to be that example to my children, so they can be that example to their children and so on.
A legacy of fun…I can think of worse things to be remembered for!
“There is joy and wonder everywhere when you see the world through the eyes of a child.”